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The Vocabulary Playbook

The Vocabulary Playbook
Learning Words That Matter, K-12

Fisher-Frey Imprint

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May 2023 | 184 pages | Corwin

Concepts, conversation, collaboration—vocabulary instruction is so much more than lists of words.

More is more when it comes to students’ vocabulary knowledge, and in The Vocabulary Playbook, educators in K-12 get ideas for transforming all children into curious, capable word learners. The key? Put away the word-list mindset, and embrace active modeling, peer work, and independent practice.

Five modules offer direct instruction and effective routines that show how to:

  • Select and teach only the most high-utility, transferable words that are ripe for discussion
  • Use direct instruction to model word-solving in each content area
  • Teach morphology in ways that invite students to apply understandings in reading, writing, talk, and listening
  • Turn academic word-learning into a relevant experience with peer collaboration activities
  • Create a culture of word consciousness by emphasizing concepts, modeling curiosity, and offering “low-risk” routines that make it okay to not yet know

Intentional vocabulary instruction is critical in every grade, and in every content area. With The Vocabulary Playbook, your approach is now tactical, transparent, and fun. Whether you are an administrator executing a school-wide plan or a teacher eager for practical strategies, this is the book that will help students build academic success—word by word.

Module 1: Make It Intentional: A Framework for Vocabulary Instruction
Module 2: Make It Transparent: How to Use Direct Instruction and Model Word Solving
Module 3 Make It Transferrable: How to Harness the Power of Morphology
Module 4: Make It Useable: How to Build Academic Vocabulary Through Peer Collaboration
Module 5: Make It Personal: How to Promote Independence and Word Consciousness Among Students
Module 6: Make Sure They Know: Assessing Word Knowledge


The Vocabulary Playbook raises the bar. The authors have captured why word learning is an inescapable part of every educator’s professional work. This indispensable book belongs on the desk of every teacher educator, classroom teacher, and in the collection of every preservice teacher. I absolutely love this book!

Patricia A. Edwards, Ph.D.
Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University

With a focus on vocabulary instruction that incorporates a multidisciplinary approach, The Vocabulary Playbook shares tried-and-true strategies that will improve student vocabulary while embedding instruction into the fabric of a classroom and school-wide culture.

Andy Schoenborn
Co-author of Creating Confident Writers

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ISBN: 9781071894309